Tag Archives: childhood obesity

Physicians with normal BMI more likely to diagnose, discuss obesity

Color me “stunned” by this report: The Baltimore Sun “Picture of Health” blog reports a study in the journal Obesity suggesting that “physicians with a normal body mass index were more likely than overweight doctors to engage their obese patients in weight loss discussions.” Continue reading

Eating frequently may lead to less weight gain in girls

Reuters reports that according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, girls who ate meals and snacks frequently gained less weight than girls who ate only a few times every day. Continue reading

Study: Soda tax reduces obesity-related illness

The National Journal reports, “A tax on sugary soft drinks could discourage consumption just enough to save 26,000 people from dying of strokes, heart attacks, or other obesity-related ills over the next decade,” according to a study in Health Affairs. Continue reading

Study links heart-health risk factors to childhood obesity

The St. Louis (MO) Post-Dispatch reported that a study in the medical journal Obesity fond that “heart-health risk factors such as dangerous cholesterol levels and artery inflammation can start as early as age 3″ for overweight children. Continue reading

Study: Few physicians inform parents of child’s obesity

The AP reports that doctors who care for children “are supposed to track if youngsters are putting on too many pounds,” but a study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine “found less than a quarter of parents of overweight children recall the doctor ever saying there was a problem.” Continue reading

Obese children not necessarily doomed to diabetes, heart disease – if they lose weight!

The Los Angeles Times “Booster Shots” blog reports, “Fat kids often turn into fat adults with a host of related health problems: diabetes, high blood pressure, clogged arteries.” However, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine “finds that if those heavy kids lose weight, they may be on a par with people who were never overweight.” Continue reading

Lack of sleep linked to obesity in teens

In my book, SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat, I explain to parents how there are three keys to prevent or treat overweight or obesity in children and teens: (1) better nutrition, (2) physical exercise, and (here’s the surprise!) better sleep!

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Many young adults may have undetected atherosclerosis

 

In my book, SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat, I stunned many readers when I wrote, “In obese children, their vascular age generally is three decades older than their chronological age.” Because of this, childhood obesity lowers life expectancy from eight to twenty years! Continue reading

No sodas in schools equals less soda in teens

Surveys conducted in 2004 and 2006 showed that student consumption of sugary drinks was significantly reduced after implementation of policies in the Boston public schools against sale of the drinks. Another national survey did not show a concomitant decline in consumption of these beverages among youths of the same ages. Continue reading

Food prepared away from home harmful to children

The Time “Healthland” blog reported, “In the first study to examine the relationship between where food is prepared and increased calorie consumption, researchers report that eating commercially made food can lead children to take in more calories than if they had eaten similar meals at home.” Continue reading

Why does TV viewing lead to obesity in children? Turns out there are several reasons

Obesity experts have been saying for over a decade that children who sit in front of the TV screen day in and day out tend to be heavier. However, experts are finding it’s not only the couch potato effect, but the television ads children are watching, along with other factors that can add inches to their waistlines. Continue reading

Pediatrics group urges lawmakers to ban childhood obesity “media diet”

Childhood obesity has become an epidemic in America – with 17 percent of children aged 2 to 19 obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A report released by the American Academy of Pediatrics “has a new suggestion: ban companies from advertising junk food during children’s television programs.” Continue reading

Experts concerned about growing number of youth with type 2 diabetes

In a past blog I told you that “Type 2 diabetes (is) appearing more often in kids.” Now that story is worsening. Continue reading

IOM report outlines steps to prevent early childhood obesity

It’s no secret America has a weight problem, but in a report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) revealed one in five children between the ages of two and five is obese or overweight. The rate has doubled since just the 1980s. Continue reading

Life expectancy has fallen in hundreds of US counties

In my 2005 book, SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat, I published this the then shocking statement, “If we don’t get a handle on (childhood obesity), this generation of kids coming up will have a shorter life span than their parents. That’s scandalous!” Now, we’re seeing some data indicating this unfortunate prediction may indeed be happening. Continue reading

US replaces food pyramid with nutrition plate

The US Department of Agriculture recently unveiled the long awaited replacement for the food pyramid, the triangle of nutrition introduced back in 1992. And I, for one, think it’s a great change! Continue reading

Report recommends most children avoid sports drinks

In a new report, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), representing most of the nation’s pediatricians, is advising children and teens NOT to down sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade unless they’re actually playing sports and to forgo energy drinks like Java Monster, Red Bull and Full Throttle altogether. Continue reading

Burning the midnight oil may lead to weight gain

‘Night owls’ take in an average of 248 more calories per day, a recent study found. As such, folks who consistently stay up late may be putting themselves at higher odds for weight gain and obesity. Continue reading

Prolonged bottle feeding boosts kids’ obesity risk: study

Nearly one-quarter of 2-year-old babies who are still drinking from a bottle at 2 years of age may be prone to obesity by the time they turn 5, a new study suggests. Continue reading

How (and why) to increase the number of family meals at home

Family meals have long been an American tradition. During the past several decades, however, the American family has undergone radical changes—and family meals have changed at the same time. And as family meals have decreased, so has the physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual health of our children. Continue reading

Overweight teens face dramatically increased heart risks later in life

In past blogs, I’ve told you that the obesity epidemic among teens not only results in “Obese children showing signs of heart disease,” but that “Obese Children are Twice as Likely to Die Young.” New research is showing that it’s even worse than I thought. Continue reading

Finally, some schools sending parents BMI figures

On its website, WFLD-TV Chicago reports students “at some schools across the country will be adding another test to their agendas: One that measures their body mass index” (BMI) as “school officials are taking a stand against childhood obesity.”

“Finally!” is all I can say! However, you don’t just want your child’s BMI ..  you also need to know their BMI percentile AND their blood pressure percentile. Here’s how you can find out this critical information and why you need to know: Continue reading

Many overweight mothers, children underestimate their actual weight

If parents falsely think that their children are normal weight, when in fact they are overweight or obese, then they are unlikely to do anything to correct the situation. Now there are some data that show parents how bad the situation is. Continue reading

Type 2 diabetes appearing more often in kids

In my book, SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat, I warn that the childhood obesity epidemic was leading to dramatic increases in the number of kids with diabetes and cardiovascular disease and could shorten their life expectancy. Now we’re beginning to see this come true. Continue reading

Obesity has cut three to four years from US life expectancy

In my book, SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat, I predicted that if the current obesity epidemic was not dealt with, that our children could become the first in American history to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. Why? Because kids who are overweight or obese can have their life shortened by eight to twenty years by a plethora of obesity-related illnesses, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and strokes).

Now USA Today reports, “Smoking, a declining habit, and obesity, a burgeoning problem, have cut three to four years off the increasing life expectancy of Americans, an international longevity comparison concludes.” Continue reading

Giving baby solid foods too early linked to obesity

Here’s another reason to consider breast feeding you baby … babies who are formula-fed and introduced to solid foods before they are 4 months old are more likely to be obese when they are three years old, researchers report. However, the timing of solid foods didn’t increase the odds of becoming obese in youngsters who were breast-fed. Here are the details from HealthDay News: Continue reading

Kids’ rising obesity rates due to bad habits, not genes: study

Poor eating and activity habits, NOT genetics, are the underlying causes for most cases of adolescent obesity, new research suggests. In other words, couch potatoes and sofa slugs are raised that way … NOT born that way. Continue reading

Younger children with regular sleep schedules less likely to be obese, research suggests

If you hate enforcing bedtime with your kids, here’s another good reason why you should. A new study published in the journal Pediatrics suggests that younger children who get more regular sleep are less likely to be obese. Continue reading

Insufficient, irregular sleep associated with childhood obesity

In my book, SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat, I made the then startling claim that childhood obesity was associated with a lack of sleep. And, in a clinical study, we showed that families who make wise nutrition choices, activity choices, AND increase the amount of sleep children get, can prevent or treat childhood obesity.

Since the publication of the book, study after study (many reviewed in this blog) have demonstrated the association between poor sleep or inadequate sleep and childhood obesity. Now, a new study suggests that sleeping in on the weekend may help children fight obesity. Here are some details from HealthDay News:

Too little sleep puts kids at risk of obesity and other health conditions, but “catch-up” sleep on weekends and holidays can mitigate the effects of weekday sleep deprivation, researchers say.

“In the United States, the sleep of our children is clearly not enough,” said lead researcher Dr. David Gozal, chair of pediatrics at Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago.

Gozal’s team monitored the sleep patterns of 308 children for a week and compared their sleep patterns with their body mass index (BMI), which is a measurement that takes into account height and weight. The children, who were 4 to 10 years old, averaged eight hours of sleep a night.

“This is way lower than the recommended amount of sleep that kids should get, which is about 9.5 to 10 hours at this age,” Gozal said.

Among the children who got the recommended amount of sleep, the risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular problems was nil, Gozal said.

“But, as the amount of sleep became shorter and the regularity of sleep became less organized, the risk for obesity increased,” he said.

“Kids who had the shortest sleep and had a more disorganized sleep schedule had more than a fourfold increase in the risk of being obese,” he noted.

These children also had increased risk for cardiovascular problems and pre-diabetes, Gozal said.

However, if these children consistently slept longer on weekends to compensate, the risk for obesity and metabolic problems was reduced to a 2.8-fold increase. “It did not normalize it. It’s still a risk but not as much as keeping your crazy short sleep schedule even during weekends,” Gozal said.

It is this combination of less sleep and irregular sleep that appears to result in metabolic problems, such as high blood sugar, Gozal said.

The report is published online Jan. 24 in advance of print publication in the journal Pediatrics.

Gozal says that other studies have shown that inadequate sleep has biological effects, including high blood sugar and cravings for sweet and high-fat foods. Insufficient sleep also makes it harder to lose weight, he said.

“All this would suggest that sleep is an important regulator of metabolism,” Gozal said. “If we abuse our sleep by not sleeping enough, then we are likely to pay the price by being heavy and being at risk for cardiovascular and all the other metabolic complications,” he said.

Children are sleeping less for various reasons, Gozal said. Busy family schedules and electronic media — cell phones, computers and TV — interfere with healthy bedtime routines. The result is that sleep suffers, he said, noting that while bedtime can be extended, we still have to get up at the same time.

“Children should follow a regular [sleep] schedule,” Gozal said. “Follow the rule of sleep and you will be happy,” he urged.

Frederick J. Zimmerman, of the department of health services at the University of California Los Angeles, said the study largely confirms earlier research that found inadequate sleep is a risk factor for obesity among children.

The new research offers a “tantalizing suggestion that sleep that is inadequate both in duration and in consistency may have adverse metabolic effects,” he added. However, it does not explain why obesity and sleep are related, Zimmerman said.

“It could be that obesity causes disturbed sleep or that inadequate sleep increases the risk of obesity. It could also be that a third factor, such as nighttime television, may lead both to obesity and to poor sleep,” he said.

Despite these uncertainties, the consensus is that parents should create an environment in which children can consistently get adequate, restful sleep, Zimmerman said.

“As difficult as it is for parents to consistently enforce early bedtimes, it may still be one of the easiest ways to promote happy, healthy children,” he added.

So, watch the clock, these experts say. The study found that parents tend to overestimate the amount of sleep their kids get, usually by 60 to 90 minutes, Gozal said.

More information

For more information on children and sleep, visit the Nemours Foundation. Or, purchase a copy of my book, SuperSized Kids: How to protect your child from the obesity threat. It’s on sale at my website. The hardcover is on sale for $3.99 here, and the soft cover for $1.99 here (plus shipping).